Monday, November 24, 2014

An Ode to My Right Knee

This Ode seems appropriate as I recently had a partial knee replacement and wanted to write something witty and clever about the knee, but found this on the Internet instead.  Rita Dove who was our Poet Laureate from 1993-1995 wrote this perfect ode. An Ode to My Right Knee. VQR online

Hard to blog after surgery, but Thanksgiving seems so appropriate to be thankful for the wonderful surgeon and support staff at Kaiser, here in Colorado and my wonderful family, especially my sister who came here to cook for my hubby and drive him to the hospital and generally oversee the first few days of my stay at the hospital.  Our neighbors came over with full course dinners.  We are so lucky and grateful. My son Bret and his wife will bring over Thanksgiving dinner and we will be together that day.

I had a partial knee replacement which is less stressful than a full knee replacement, but not "a walk in the park."  My goal, among others, is to dance at my grandsons' weddings, and two being pre-teens and the other two boys are in high school, so there is a gap of years to practice.  I still have some living to do, and with God's grace, I will.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving in whatever form it takes all over the world and savor the small moments.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Glenn Gould visits the Soviet Union

Glenn Gould's Statue in Toronto, Canada

Glenn Gould, pianist extraordinaire

There was an interesting You Tube I stumbled across a few days ago.  I had been playing a few You Tube selections of operas, master classes, and other musical selections that are available, and I found this film of Glenn Gould and his visit to Moscow in  1957.    
This was at the height of the Cold War and there was a slight thaw as far as allowing Westerners some access.  Mr. Gould's agent thought it might help Glenn's career to do something a little different and knowing that the Russians love classical music, even though they were not permitted to hear much "Western" music like Bach, for instance (too religious), Mr. Gould was allowed to come and perform. He was the first concert pianist from North America to be invited to play behind the Iron Curtain

Just a bit of background.  Glenn Gould, a Canadian,  was a genius, but even though he was a loner, not everyone remembers him that way, he could be funny and playful, but the piano was everything, and although he did perform in public, later on in his life he preferred  to record alone in a studio.  His "Bach's Goldberg Variations" is the most famous of his recordings.  The technique, everything is unique.  He sat on a hard backed chair, with his hands below the keys and somehow as he played this way, he created something technically amazing and quite beautiful.

I do not play the piano and cannot fully appreciate what Mr. Gould does, but even if you are not a classical music lover, you might enjoy watching the You Tube clip of his visit to the Soviet Union.  

He begins his concert in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory with only a half filled hall.  Then something extraordinary happens, people begin rushing out to the telephones in the lobby to urge their friends to hear this pianist play music they had not been permitted to hear before.  The film shows people running to the theater.  There was a long intermission and then the hall was packed.  He became a kind of rock star during his stay as he gave lectures and introduced the Soviets to the music of composers that had been forbidden. The film is in English with French sub-titles.  There is much more on the internet about this reclusive, unusual musician.

He died in 1982, just 50 years old.  

Glenn Gould:  A Russian Journey  (You Tube, but cannot find anyone to thank for being able to use this)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

El Dia de los Muertos, 2014

Part of apron fabric--"auto
El Dia de los Muertos, or The Day of the Dead, is a commemorative holiday celebrated in Mexico and other Latin countries, but especially in Mexico on November 1 and 2nd.  This day honors the dead, not with sadness and morbidity, but with food, flowers and remembrances. I first learned of this holiday when I was teaching high school in Los Angeles and this is  how a student of mine explained it.  "Mrs. R, it's boring being dead and once a year we remember my grandfather by giving him a little party.  We make an altar with foods he liked,  his special beer, with photos of us, with flowers and take it to the cemetery.  We light candles and remember my grandfather." 

 To celebrate, sugar skull candies are made and a special bread, Pan Muerto.  Figures are created to represent the dead doing everyday things, like playing marimbas, being in a mariachi band, and many other activities,  but always with a skull face.  The tradition says that on November 1st and  second, the heavens open and the souls of the dead return to earth to connect with their relatives. Not  a bad way to remember those we loved. And. . .my thanks to Vanessa Portillo who told me the story of her grandfather.  I am sending her good wishes through cyberspace.  

This is a copy of the first part of a blog post I wrote last year and a link to the creative creations of El dia de Los Muertos And. . .I bought this apron in Santa Fe this past summer and could not resist illustrating this post with a section of the fabric.